The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 90

March 31, 2023 9:52 am

LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals aims to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 89 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF discussed fire hazard rooms. In part 90, we consider how sources of oxygen might contribute to a fire and should be identified, completing the identification of items which might contribute to a fire. We will then look at identifying particular people who may be at risk from fire.

Oxygen is needed for a fire to burn and is most commonly found in the air. However, there are other sources of oxygen found in healthcare premises which may be considered an additional fire risk. Medical gas pipeline systems and cylinders, for example, which are dealt with in detail in HTM 02-01.

Sources of oxygen may also be found in materials used or stored at healthcare premises, e.g.

  • Some chemicals (oxidising materials) which can provide a fire with additional oxygen and aid burning. The containers of such chemicals will be identifiable by the indicators on the container placed by the manufacturer or supplier. They will also be listed on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health data sheet – COSHH. Advice on their safe use and storage will be supplied and if it is not, it should be obtained.
  • Oxygen supplies from cylinder storage and piped systems, such as medical oxygen and oxygen used by contractors for processes such as welding.

Identifying people at risk

Any person who may be on healthcare premises should be considered at risk of fire. However, there are people who may be especially at risk and their needs should be considered in particular.

  • Employees who work alone either on a regular basis or at specific times, and/or employees in isolated areas of the premises. Night workers may particularly fall into this category and job roles such as cleaners, security staff, maintenance staff, nursing staff and care staff should all be identified.
  • Any person who is unfamiliar with the premises – they may be agency staff, temporary staff, guests and visitors, including medical or social care personnel and any contractors on site.
  • Patients who are unable to effect an escape without assistance. This will include babies, young children, older people, physically disabled persons, mobility impaired people, mentally disabled people. Those people who have vision or hearing impairments or other sensory impairments and those whose ability to escape unaided is impaired due to a medical condition or medication. It should be noted that people who are intoxicated will also fall into this category.

In Part 91 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will continue to look at the identification of people at risk of fire for the risk assessment. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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